Staff Association Executive Committee: 3/24/20 Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the Staff Association Executive Committee meeting held on 3/4/2020
Attending via Zoom: Sherrie Borowsky, Joanne Brown, Bruce Bumbarger, Noemi Fernández, Sara Goddard, Bob Harper, Nikoletta Millas, Rose Marie Moses, Elana Wolff
The meeting opened with updates from members on their professional and personal situations during the restrictions on on-campus work.
No committee updates
- Responses to the pandemic - communication
- Preparation for the 3/27 all-staff meeting
Several members noted a need for more frequent/timely communications from the administration. A question was also raised about how much information is not being shared fully with all campus constituents.
A member brought up the communication sent to staff by Noemi under the SAEC name – specifically whether it had undergone adequate vetting by the committee members, and whether it was sent counter to a request from a member of senior staff. While Noemi stated that she had positive responses and no negative feedback from staff regarding the message, one member related they had heard from others that the communication was ill-advised, duplicative, and out-of-sync with other campus communications, particularly messaging coming from the President’s office. While agreeing with another member that nothing in the message was inaccurate, the member stated that it was not well-coordinated with administration messaging and appeared to some staff to have “cut into” communications for the President.
The need was expressed for a larger conversation about communications coming from SAEC. It was pointed out that the committee bylaws call for advice/consent of the committee when an officer is dealing with the entire staff and/or administration. It was noted that the committee still needs to clarify how communications between the committee and other campus groups should be carried out, and that much of this should be incorporated into the policies and procedures document being formulated by the Working Group on Governance. The sentiment was expressed that in much of this, we are operating in “uncharted territory” and that a full discussion will be needed as we work though these issues. It was determined that before sending out communications under the SAEC name, agreement from all members is necessary. Further, if any SAEC member speaks as a representative to a campus committee or in another official capacity, they should copy their communication to other members of the committee.
At this point, it was noted that the level of communication with the administration has so far been very limited, although there remained some question as to who knew/didn’t know about the extent or nature of the exchanges.
The discussion continued with the comment that we need to move forward, learning from our missteps, enacting a policy that unless specific responsibilities are delegated to a particular individual or group, all communications from the SAEC will be run by all members of the committee. Closing out, the comment was made that committee reps (AAC, WGB, &c) need to work together and avoid making public comments that could undermine the work of the SAEC as a whole.
A question was raised regarding continued pay for non-exempt staff who are not able to work from home during the closure. Members who had participated in departmental meetings stated that nothing had been discussed in those meetings that would indicate pay would be discontinued. It was recognized that non-exempt staff are the most vulnerable members of the community, and that we need to develop ways to express their concerns to HR and other members of the administration.
All-staff meeting 3/27
There were questions about the planned format for the meeting, and Noemi agreed to approach Franklyn and Jesse to see what role the SAEC might play in facilitating the meeting. It was determined that several questions need to be answered:
- impact on meeting goal of GAAP break-even
- status of non-exempt staff who are not able to work from home
- how will agenda for the meeting be posted
- budget approval
- provost search
- Middle States work
Comment board messages
We discussed developing a mechanism to assign questions received on the comment board to the relevant working groups, and decided that we should speak with the President and her staff about the most effective way to keep them informed of comments we receive.
The following comments were received up to the date of this meeting through the anonymous comment board accessible from the Staff Association webpage (https://www.haverford.edu/staff-association).
- Faculty/staff parking needs to be expanded. student parking doesn't seem to correlate with any specific buildings, and there are sections of student parking that could be better utilized by faculty/staff. arriving any later than 8:45am results in having to park in the large lot, and that's a very long walk to most academic buildings, especially when carrying work supplies or food. students don't move their cars as often, and the lot is closer to most of their housing.
- Staff need to be able to park closer to where they work on campus, even if they arrive at 9:00 a.m. By 8:30 a.m. most of the north campus parking is already taken. The walk up-campus to where most of the administrative buildings are, is long especially when you are carrying everything you need for a full day at work (work bag, lunch, etc.) or in inclement weather and you have to be in your office/at your work site ASAP. Students mostly live and work on campus, plus they have transportation, like the Blue Bus and Swat shuttle, to get them to classes on other campuses, and they can have 100% of the parking after business hours.
- In what ways, if any, is the College offering accommodations for non essential full time staff who are required to work from home during this time but have childcare responsibilities because schools and daycares are closed? We are still paying tuition and have hired a temporary nanny on top of that, however I know not everyone has the resources to do so. Thank you for your consideration and advocacy!
- When this is all over, I'd like to see the College provide extra compensation (not just words of thanks) to our colleagues who both make the least money and had to continue to commute and work on campus to provide essential services. A lot of us who can continue to work from home are also those of us who get paid more to begin with. Hopefully the Staff Association could advocate for that with the Administration. (And I say this as a salaried employee who is safely working at home!)
Submitted by Bruce Bumbarger